ONLY on 10: Largo Puppeteer rejects plea deal | News
Tampa, Florida -- The details in this case are so deviant, so diabolical that the contents of the federal documents have created a visceral reaction in people.
Those who have read the material say they became sick to their stomachs.
A 57-year-old local puppeteer from Largo is accused of planning to kidnap children, specifically toddlers, torture them, rape them, murder them, then cook their body parts on a stove, according to federal documents.
Now, the puppeteer, accused of discussing this disturbing information online about children, is now making headlines once again.
Ronald William Brown originally made news over the summer when the story broke about his plans to kill, cook and eat a child's body parts, investigators maintain.
It was discovered, according to documents, that Brown was part of a larger international network of people around the globe who shared in their desire to not only view child pornography, but also discuss plans to kidnap children, torture them and then eat them.
At first, it seemed that Brown's sordid story would come to an end after he signed an agreement in federal court to plead guilty to possessing and receiving child pornography.
However, there's been a last minute change.
Wearing a blue jail uniform, Brown appeared in federal court today in downtown Tampa. He informed his attorney, Eric Kuske Leanza, that he has rejected the plea deal that he signed, and he now wants to go to trial.
Eric Leanza is a longtime veteran attorney, practicing law for nearly 20 years. His vast experience includes clients all over the globe with high-profile cases involving organized crime and racketeering.
He says this puppeteer case is garnering attention from all over the world. "I have papers and TV stations calling me from London, the Netherlands, even CNN. Everyone wants to talk about it," Leanza told 10 News.
As for the well-known attorney's high-profile client, "At this point, [Brown] doesn't believe he's done anything. He has a right to go to trial. I advised him, and this was his decision," Leanza told us.
This now means Brown will face more charges than just pornography possession. He will also face the more serious charge of kidnapping.
"There's no one that can put [Brown] behind the computer," Leanza adds.
With the plea deal, Brown would have faced less than ten years in prison, according to his attorney. But, now since the 57-year-old wants to go to trial, he could face life behind bars when all is said and done.
Documents show that in one online conversation, Brown wrote about a local boy, "I imagine him wiggling and then going still." Those documents also show that Brown had a large number of disturbing photos depicting child pornography on his computer.
Those pictures were the subject of online chatter between Brown and others, investigators say. However, there is currently no evidence to show that Brown hurt anyone. In addition, it is not a crime to discuss material of this nature online.
Brown told investigators all of the conversations were in the "realm of fantasy" and that he would never hurt anyone.
One of Brown's neighbors at the Whispering Pines mobile home park, where he's been served an eviction notice, was both terrified and disgusted when she heard the details of the case.
Robin Fuchs says her children and others play in the area all the time. "They're all passing his house every morning and afternoon. Some parents aren't home and sending their kids on. They don't know at all," she said.
Brown started his puppeteer company in 1992, Puppet Plus. On Facebook, Brown brags about performing in schools and malls, even for the Tampa Bay Rays.
But, it's what he's allegedly doing online that has federal agents interested.
In another of the online conversations, Brown and another man were chatting, detectives say, about kidnapping kids and eating them, even going so far as to describe, in detail, what the men wanted to do with the body parts. The conversations are graphic and vile.
One portion goes as follows:
"Summer is heating up, should be good pickins."
"It's so hot, the kids are almost naked out there."
"My mouth watered looking at her for sure."
Those comments were the tamest and cleanest of the comments, by far.
Agents say they captured images on Brown's computer. The pictures are simply too graphic to describe in detail. They are of children in bondage positions. Some of the images, agents say, are of dead children.
According to documents, Brown was targeting a little boy at a local church.
Brown also admitted in the documents that he chatted on line about strangling children, that he was in a group on Yahoo where he discussed his fantasies online.
Agents say Brown had multiple photos of child pornography depicting little boys in severe pain.
We asked one of Brown's neighbors, Paula Tincher, "When you hear something like that, what do you think?"
Shaking her head and wincing, she said, "It freaks me out. I have three kids of my own."
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